“Load Up, Suit Up”

San Diego Comic-Con kicked off this week with thousands upon thousands of attendees present at the multi-genre entertainment conference. The gaming scene increasingly grows each and every year, this time headlining with the world premiere of Black Ops 3 Zombies Mode, as well as plenty of tidbits from upcoming games. Here’s what’s worth knowing what went down this week in gaming news.

  • Black Ops 3 Zombies Mode Revealed

Call-of-Duty-Black-Ops-III_2015_07-09-15_004Unveiled this week during Comic-Con in San Diego, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Zombies mode was first revealed. Titled, Shadows of Evil, the mode places players in a 1940’s setting as the bloodthirsty, undead, pursue in classic fashion. It looks like something fresh and exciting, pitting together the aesthetic of previous Black Ops Zombie iterations, Ghost’s Extinction, and a more comedic tone. Shadows of Evil sports a stellar cast as well, featuring Jeff Goldblum, Heather Graham, Neal McDonough, Ron Perlman, and Robert Picardo.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III: Zombies – Shadows of Evil drops players into a recognizable yet terrifyingly unfamiliar world, as they uncover the secrets and challenges laid out for them by a shadowy figure, who holds their fate in his hands. Set in a 1940’s film-noir era, Shadows of Evil introduces four unwitting characters – The Magician, The Femme-Fatale, The Cop and The Boxer – into an unraveling experience masterminded by the mysterious Shadow Man.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 launches on the 6th of November, and you can bet I’ll be piling-up the dead come day one.

  • Minecraft: Story Mode Gets First Trailer

BraxtonHaugenDeveloper Telltale Games, released the first trailer for their mysterious upcoming episodic series, Minecraft: Story Mode at Minecon earlier this week. The game looks to follow a group of adventurers as they try to save the universe following the events of a catastrophe. I’ll admit, Minecraft has never really been my thing, but I’ve greatly enjoyed Telltale’s recent projects; The Walking Dead and Tales from the Borderlands. The reassurance Telltale gave me was backed up by hearing the instantly recognizable voices of Ashley Johnson, Scott Porter, Martha Plimpton, Dave Fennoy, Corey Feldman, Billy West, and Paul Reubens. A fun cast could go a long way in giving Minecraft: Story Mode a much-needed, larger appeal. As of now, I am unsure who exactly the audience for this game is. Telltale has recently been focusing on more mature properties, and their signature episodic template doesn’t seem to fit well with a younger audience. It’s still up in the air whether or not Minecraft: Story Mode is even a good idea, but at least its got me interested.

  • Ubisoft’s New Approach on Showing Games

BraxtonHaugenLast year’s Watch Dogs and its graphical downgrade backlash has changed the way Ubisoft approaches showing new games. Speaking to The Guardian during E3 this year, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot addressed the issues that some games weren’t playable on the target machine at the time. Guillemot went on to state the following:

“With E3 2015 we said, okay, let’s make sure the games are playable, that they’re running on the target machines. When we show something, we ask the team, make sure it’s playable, make sure gamers can immediately see exactly what it is. That’s what we learned from the Watch Dogs experience – if it can’t be played on the target machine, it can be a risk. It’s a real challenge to create those types of games. When they come out, especially the first iterations, they are not perfect on everything. We think we launched a good quality game for a first step in a new brand with a new technology. It’s just so complex – seamless multiplayer, connectivity with mobile and tablets, so many things – it was maybe a bit too much for a first iteration.”

The backlash came with good reason, when Watch Dogs was initially unveiled, it was absolutely breathtaking, featuring ambitious gameplay and stunning graphics. However, the finished product wasn’t anywhere close to the demos we’d seen leading up to the release. Guillemot addressing the issue was a step in the right direction, showing a game not representative of the final product via a polished demo, is only hurting the consumer in the end, and shouldn’t happen.

  • Batman: Arkham Knight Batgirl DLC Coming Next Week

Batgirl-Arkham-Knight-artWarner Bros. has released a trailer for the upcoming Batgirl DLC as a part of the recently released Batman: Arkham Knight. The story based expansion, titled Batgirl: A Matter of Family is set far before the events of Arkham Knight and will put players in the role of of Batgirl, marking a first in the series. Unlike the full game, the DLC was developed by Arkham Origins developer WB Games Montreal, not Rocksteady. The official synopsis reads as follows:

“When The Joker kidnaps Commissioner Gordon and holds him hostage at the Seagate Amusement Park, Batgirl and Robin must fight against the odds to save him and avoid falling victim to The Joker’s sinister plan. Trained by Batman, Batgirl’s combat combines with unparalleled hacking abilities to take down enemies, control objects and solve puzzles.”

I thoroughly enjoyed Batman: Arkham Knight, but won’t be diving into the Batgirl DLC just yet. I’ve refrained from buying the season pass, deciding to wait and see what Rocksteady pumps out in the following months. If there’s one hope I have for A Matter of Family, it’s the capability of offering players a lengthy chunk of content, rather than the short, somewhat measly, pre-order bonuses that came with the full game. Batgirl: A Matter of Family will be available on July 14 for season pass holders, and everyone else July 21.

  • Lizard Squad Strikes Again

planetside-2It’s never a good sign when the Lizard Squad makes headlines. The story is a bit of a rabbit hole, starting when seventeen year-old, Julius Kivimaki, was convicted of over 50,000 charges related to cyber crimes in a court in Finland. Kivimaki was in the spotlight over a range of wrongdoings, such as  online harassment, data breaches, fraud, and even money laundering. Though proven of these offenses, he’d not been given a prison sentence, but will reportedly serve a two-year suspended sentence, instead. Understandably, no one was too happy about this news, especially John Smedley, current head of Planetside 2 and H1Z1 studio, Daybreak Game Company. Smedley spoke out on Twitter, addressing the Lizard Squad hacker following the court’s decision directly. He stated he will be taking further legal action, ending with the following tweet:

Not long after Smedley’s comments, the hacking group claimed responsibility for a string of DDoS attacks against H1Z1 and PlanetSide 2, rendering them unplayable. Clearly, this is no joke, and the lowly Lizard Squad should rightfully be brought to justice.

To keep up with my thoughts on all things video games, along with plenty of other shenanigans, you can follow me on Twitter @BraxHaugen